A car manufacturer is going to start installing an alert system in their vehicles to let the driver know if the driver left their child in the backseat. Sounds like a good idea- after all, parents who leave a child unattended in their vehicle has caused the death of many children.
So when people buy their vehicles from this dealer, they don’t have to worry about forgetting their child in the backseat. This is a triumph…right?
Looking deeper, I see a band-aid over a serious heart issue.
Are we so busy with our lives that our brains no longer register others anymore?
Are we so focused on getting the shopping done or getting to work that we forget we have a little one in the car?
Please understand that I’m not pointing fingers at anyone- I’ve forgotten to pick up my kids because I was too busy and lost track, so I’m not even close to being a perfect parent- but the heart issue isn’t whether we love our kids or not. The heart issue is this; are we too distracted by busyness to notice our kids?
-Using the TV/video games as a babysitter regularly so we can get things done
-Texting/talking on your phone all the time when at home- even during family meals
-Being too busy to spend time playing/talking with your kids
-Not being there when they need you because you over-scheduled yourself
-Shutting the family out so you can have some ‘me’ time, when there’s more ‘me’ than ‘them’ time.
-Over scheduling so much that we are more focused on what we’re doing instead of who is with us.
And when something bad happens, we feel the too-heavy weight of guilt on our spirits and the regret that we weren’t there for them…again.
I’ve done every single one of the things I listed above. I’ve felt the guilt. I’m not telling you all of this because I’m better than anyone (which I’m definitely not) but to alert you in case you haven’t done it (yet), or let you know you’re not the only one if you have.
I want to rip off that band-aid and help a heart-issue healing.
The world is full of distractions, busyness, and selfishness. There’s nothing wrong with a little time to yourself to relax or get things done, but when the family suffers because we’re just not there with them (mentally or physically), this is a serious heart issue that needs to be fixed.
God made Adam,and then made his partner, Eve. God meant for them to have children and fill the earth. God invented the family. Satan and the world are doing their best to tear families apart.
Subtlety is the best way to do this.
Look around your life in God’s eyes and see all the little things that distract you from Him. You might be surprised- I know I was!
But how do you fix it? It’s hard to give up things that we’re used to, and sometimes we just can’t because it’s become a necessity, like computers or cell phones. We can live without them (at least us older folks can…maybe), but these gadgets make life run more smoothly for the most part.
So here are some suggestions to help rip off that band-aid:
-Have a tech-free night. No computers, TV, or cell phones. Spend time playing card or board games or talking with each other.
-Plan tech-free family mini-vacations. Go on a road trip. Go camping. Go to the beach. Anything that will put you in a different environment and focus on the beauty of God’s creations, go do it. The only tech exception will be to take pictures- but include the family in them!
-Family meals should be tech-free and eaten at a kitchen or dining room table- not in front of the TV.
-Plan family walks around the neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors! If you have to walk the dog anyway, why not walk as a family?
-Spend family time with the pets. Take turns throwing a Frisbee or ball for Fido, or break out the fishing pole toy or laser light for Fluffy.
-Ease up the schedule. Do you need to go to meetings every night or take the kids to soccer, baseball, karate, and dance class every week? Pick one or two nights for activities and the rest of the week is free to relax and spend time together. Kids get stressed from over scheduling too!
-Make meals together. Instead of a parent in the kitchen while everyone waits, have everyone help- not only will this be more fun, but it also teaches the kids how to cook! (Just make sure to give them age appropriate tasks.)
-Chores can be boring, but put on a mix of your favorite tunes (kids included) and do them together- chores get done a lot faster! The more hands, the quicker the work- and then you can spend more time together having fun!
-Have a prayer and bible time so your kids can learn and ask questions about God. And if you don’t know the answers, write them down to look up later or talk to your pastor about them. Write down scriptures to back up the answers, then address their question the next time. Let the kids pray freely with no coaching- you might be surprised what or who they pray for!
The family unit as a whole has been degrading in the past few decades. Technology isn’t the only reason, but if we allow ourselves to be too busy or distracted, we lose sight of God’s purpose concerning family.
It’s a heart issue that can’t be fixed by band-aids.
Time with our babies is a fleeting thing, and we don’t realize just how important our role is as parents until our kids are grown. Spending time with them is crucial in helping stop the disintegration of the family as a whole.
Rip off that band-aid.
Slow the schedule.
Spend time with your children, and feel God smile as He pours His blessings upon you.
Author and Asst. Editor for Ruby for Women Magazine, Beth Brubaker